Shiraz Granita

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Granita 4

Confession: red wines aren’t my favorite.  I tend towards sweeter whites and pinks, and Beringer’s white zinfandel is just about my ideal.  Yes, I have the wine preferences of a stereotypical sorority girl (even though I wasn’t one).

Occasionally, however, I’ll need a bit of shiraz for a recipe.  Because I know I’ll never finish the rest of a normal-sized bottle, I buy red wine in four-packs of mini bottles.  One bottle gets used in the recipe.  The rest of the pack goes in a cabinet – and inevitably gets forgotten.  Which is why I found two mini bottles of shiraz when I was cleaning out cabinets a couple of weeks ago.  What’s a girl to do with two mini bottles of shiraz on a hot June day?  Make shiraz granita, of course!

Shiraz granita is light and refreshing.  Maybe too much so, because it’s easy to eat a lot more than you intended.  Somehow this stuff is waaay better than a glass of shiraz on its own!  The directions are simple, and it doesn’t require an ice cream machine – just a little bit of time to set up in the freezer.

The downside of the granita is that it melts really fast.  Serving it in chilled glasses makes it last a little longer, but not much.  Keep the granita in the freezer until right before serving.  If you like, you can garnish with frozen cherries or sprigs of an herb like basil or mint.

Granita 1

Shiraz Granita
adapted from Ice Creams & Sorbets

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups shiraz (or another dry red wine like merlot)
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tbs. lime juice

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, boil the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for five minutes.  Add the wine, orange juice, and lime juice; stir to combine.  Refrigerate until cold, about three hours.

2. Pour the liquid into a nonreactive 9×9 pan – a glass pan works really well.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.  About every two hours, stir the pan with a fork, pushing the frozen bits at the edges into the center.  The granita should be fully frozen in about eight hours, which means you need to stir it three or four times while it freezes.  Serve the granita at once, or keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.